Theme Cruising 101

The Top Two Best Tips Ever For Your Specialty Cruise Vacation

Save money, be entertained and eat like you mean it! Have it all while taking a specialty cruise to the Mexican Riviera and other exotic locals. We have found you the most cost-efficient vacation packages on the market today. Where else can you go for around $150 USD per day and have your room, cruise fees, all the food, entertainment and special interest workshops (all in a friendly foreign country) included in the price of your package?

In the last two years, the number of vacationers cruising to Mexico has doubled. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, more than 113,000 North Americans cruised to Mexico during 2005, and the numbers have increased during 2006, at least for the first three quarters, to an astounding 521,000 cruisers. Right now, theme cruising is the hottest ticket in the vacation market and an exciting and unusual vacation. And have we got tips for you!

We are tired of the cold, already. Wouldn’t it be heavenly to place our feet in the warm sands of Mexico and soak up the rays? Combine that with your specialty interest and you have the perfect unusual vacation package. Seminars-at-sea are the ideal environment to learn about psychic phenomena, with such workshops as Understanding Mediumship, Your Purpose in Life through Astrology, Discovering your Life’s Work and Dream Interpretation. Wine lovers taking a theme cruise will broaden their imbibing knowledge and make new friends who have the same interests. Whether you are a first time cruiser or an experienced traveler, it is time to put the cold winter behind you and get out and bask in the warmth of Mexico. Theme Cruises are easy and fun getaways, but are not found on the cruise line’s websites.

Today we will look at two of the top five secrets for a successful Theme Cruise vacation.

We want to share the top secrets which will help you avoid the pitfalls leading to an unhappy vacation. Let’s face it, you’ve saved for this exciting one-of-a-kind getaway and you want to get your moneys worth. As you prepare to book your vacation, remember, you’re there to have fun. As obvious as it may seem, take a Theme Cruise which matches your interests or curiosity. Become an adventurer and do something you would not do every day. Learn something new about the psychic world while taking these enrichment seminars at sea. Bring your best camera and take pictures in beautiful, new surroundings with a photo cruise. You will more than get your money’s worth. And then go for the gusto: eat lobster, frog legs or escargot. If you don’t like it, send it back and order something new. The staff on board are very accommodating. You do not ever have to be dissatisfied with your meal. Book an onshore excursion and go jet skiing with your sweetie. Shop with your daughter. Snorkel with your sons. Learn how to scuba-dive. Get up in front of an audience with your best friends and sing karaoke with the rest of us who can’t carry a tune either. Have a massage. The world is your oyster and the pampering is divine.

But first, we have just a few juicy tidbits of information for you before you leave on your theme cruise. Let your family and friends know if your ship has a bridge cam so they can follow you on the internet from port to port. If you need to contact home or the office while on vacation you will find a number of internet on board computers available for a fee. Sometimes your trip can be used as a business expense, so ask your financial advisor for information. Take the time before your vacation to go to your ship’s website address and research the shore excursions you want. If you study background information on your ports of call before you leave home, you will easily be able to immerse yourself in the culture when you arrive.

Welcome aboard! It’s time to take advantage of all your ship has to offer. Aboard this floating city are all the avenues of entertainment that you would find at any top-rated resort, from Las Vegas-style shows to ’round the pool music and dancing. Remember that the cruise line wants you to have the perfect, fun vacation and they will go out of their way to see that you get it.

While cruising we spend a lot of our time pool side, getting to know the other happy passengers. Believe me when I confess that people are at their friendliest when on vacation. We’ve met people from all around the world. Massage, manicures, pedicures and the hair salon offer a type of pampering I only wish I indulged in frequently. We never miss the opportunity to take a free steam at the his and hers saunas, melting away the stress of the past year. Once underway, we recommend you just relax and have fun. Oh, by the way, bring your business cards so you can exchange contact information with all the new friends you’re going to meet.

And now, on to the world’s best tips to make your cruise vacation easy, memorable and interesting. Save this information in your suitcase so when the time comes to pack, you will have all the vital information you need for a worry-free vacation.

If your Theme Cruise takes you to Mexico, for example, know that you are traveling to a land where the weather is warm and the people are friendly. Mexico opens its arms and welcomes you with a hospitality that is hard to beat.

1) Choose the right cruise: Whatever price you have paid for your vacation, it is no bargain if you don’t have a good time. What good is a cut rate if you’re snowed in and can’t make the flight to your departing port? Adults have a better time taking adult cruises and families generally prefer family-style cruising. If you are traveling with children choose a cruise line with strong kid programs (not too hard to find now, but much tougher several years ago), as well as in-cabin babysitting. Ask your cruise line if they offer children’s programs. There are only a couple of lines which have that option. Bring a set of walkie-talkies so that you can have immediate contact with the sitter while you are out. Opt for the early dining seating since most children cannot wait until eight or nine o’clock at night to eat.

If your children tend to be a little rambunctious, you may want an in-cabin sitter so you can enjoy your fine dining, or gather the clan and choose the buffet where your time together will be less anxious. Travel agents are a Godsend. If you do not have one, we can HIGHLY recommend one where they can handle all your needs online or by a toll free telephone number. Just ask us and we will put you in touch with this agency which specializes in cruises. They can get you perks you cannot find on your own and they are an invaluable resource. They offer travel/cancellation insurance by a third party which will cover events outside of the country that your private insurance and possibly the cruise line insurance will not. Again, check with your travel agent.

Peak vs. off-peak seasons are something to consider carefully. Ever wonder why cruise prices fluctuate throughout the year? Lesser priced cruises are priced that way for a reason. Winter in Chicago could certainly be viewed as the off-season, and traveling during a hurricane season in the tropics, which is from June – December, is no great bargain either. Ask yourself what kind of cruise you are looking for. Do you want a romantic, exciting, enriching, relaxing or a pampering cruise? For the first time cruiser, it is important to choose the right ship. If you are not looking forward to huge partying crowds, don’t travel during summer vacation or holidays. Spring Break in Mexico is loud and crowded. Some cruise ships are geared to the party life, while others are more sedate and refined. Most are somewhere in between. If you are looking for the next wet T-shirt contest or believe you have a chance of winning the ship’s belly flop competition, we suggest the party ships. (They are a lot of fun!) When flying into the port city of your cruise, you will need to have transportation from the airport to the ship and back again. Each ship offers “transfers” by motorcoach for a fee, usually around $50 USD PP, round trip.

It’s important when you go online to choose a ship that you are aware that the price stated does not include your seminars-at-sea, trip cancellation insurance, transfers, taxes and port fees. Nor does it cover the cost of liquor and sodas. Do budget for these extras.

It’s an excellent idea to know when your ship’s boarding hours are so that you can make provisions for your flight which will allow you enough time to leave the airport and get onboard before the ship leaves port. Better yet, if you are flying in, arrive a day early and stay at a nearby hotel overnight, boarding your ship the next day. This way you can allow for unforseen delays and not miss your vacation. In other words, arrive at your port city a day ahead of time, in case anything goes wrong with your flight.

Vacation Theme Cruises are THE hot tickets in the industry right now and cabins book quickly. Should I book early or book late, is a question we are often asked. BOOK EARLY! Most cruise lines require payment in full at least 65 days prior to travel, while some cruise lines require final payment even sooner. Unless you have cancellation insurance, you will not receive your money back once you have paid in full. With the insurance you can avoid cancellation fees from the travel agency, cruise line and tour directors. If needed, cruise insurance will save you a bundle!

2) Pick the right cabin on your ship: Did you know that each category of cabins, Inside, Window, and Balcony have several upgrades per category? When you book early, you’ll get the better cabins. Normally we love the dark, quiet rooms so we book an inside cabin. But on one vacation we were celebrating a one year anniversary from a life-threatening illness and booked an inside cabin. Today we wish we would have booked a comfortable and relaxing outside cabin because so much time was spent in our stateroom resting. For the most part though, we are people-persons and do not spend much time in our cabin. We say, “Book cheap and use the savings for more onshore excursions (we’re going jet skiing next time), onboard pampering (like a massage) or to pay for your bar and soda tab.”

However, there are several reasons to book the more luxurious rooms. When the outdoor decks get crowded, having a balcony room will give you your own piece of private paradise. Some travelers feel claustrophobic and want to see natural outdoor lighting. It makes the room appear larger. Honeymooners and anniversary couples may want a more romantic environment and do not mind paying for it. Some just love to live well and spare no expense. In which case, choose a window or balcony stateroom. If your first priority is the destination, then you need not pay for the luxury rooms. Some like to use the money saved on a room choice buying gifts for the kids and grand kids. Some like to bring a little something home for the neighbor who has watched the pets and watered the garden. It makes a difference if the room is the “big deal,” or the port and activities are more important to you. We have never had any problems with sea sickness and therefore have not been concerned with where on the ship our stateroom was located.

We have yet to see a single passenger leaning over the side of the ship suffering from motion sickness. Modern ships are so well equipped with stabilizers that you would think you were vacationing on a land-based resort. Take your time relishing your one-of-a-kind vacation. Pick and choose how you want to spend your themed vacation time; do a lot, or do nothing. Soak up new information gained in your seminars. The choices are all yours and the wonderful memories you leave the ship with will last a lifetime. Next time we’ll be sharing our tips about Packing, Dining & Travel Documents and the fun types of workshops available on a Theme Cruise. Happy cruising and we’ll see you at sea!